Most of the time when we pause to consider the digital systems that underpinned western monoculture, it is with dismay or frustration. At the moment we may add horror to that list. The developed world is not exactly covering itself with glory, both in its actions and in its overreactions.
This post is not the venue for a detailed unpacking of what is going on and how we position ourselves for, against and around it. That’s what we have to newsletter for. (Sign up on the right.) I do however, by way of sharing, want to remind you of the tremendous power that comes with choosing better ideas over having fear or panic-based responses. At the moment, digital systems are being used to reinforce and thus trap ourselves in our preferred holograms -wherever those holograms are located across the spectrum of goals and affiliations. (And -for now- we will leave aside the blatant manipulation and disinformation perpetrated by nontransparent, non-state actors on the very same digital systems we are all currently building our unhelpful holograms upon.) We are impairing the proper functioning of our amygdala right when we need it for its decision-making prowess. You are the only person in the entire universe that has control over this.
I resonate with the goals being loudly retweeted but I just can’t look past the very poor strategy on display. Careening hysterically around the internet, out-competing each other with holocaust references is not going to do anything. Not a single one of your mythical, fictional or ‘real’ heroes would behave that way. As Catherine Fitts said, albeit in a different context, the situation is too serious to allow ourselves the luxury of being angry.
I can’t help but be reminded of something Grant Morrison said. Both Superman and the atomic bomb began as ideas. We should aim to have better ideas. Although it is currently hard to see, they really are out there. The material to build Superman is available in abundance.
Here are some better ideas to get you started. They are a reminder of what we can actually do with digital systems when we find or restore our coherence. The inestimable Douglas Rushkoff has not only started a new podcast -find it here- but he also recently gave a presentation (to Swiss bankers no less!) on the shortfalls and opportunities in our post-digital world.
Become invincible, have better ideas, never give up. That’s always been the play. That is the play before elections. That is the play after elections. That is the play during tsunamis, alien invasions, and zombie viral outbreaks.
It has not and will not change.